How important is the concept of historical sanctions in the psalms?
According to Gary North, it is important. In the Psalms, one of David’s common phrases is about how enemies ‘compass him about’. He continually asks why God has forsaken him, that God be not far from him, and that He incline His ear unto him. But it’s not the consequence of David acting a certain way.
David also writes about how God will bring judgement to his enemies. Enemies that ‘seek after his soul’ to destroy it. He writes about how God has given him economic success, not having anything to do with David’s actions. Sanctions are the punishment or the reward for an action, but if these prayers and songs of David are pointing to the sanctions that God imputes on him, it’s not clear to me. But I’m sure that this isn’t a result of David being obedient or not, even though it can seem that way sometimes.
The Psalms are full of highs and lows of David, him praising God, asking for help, despairing of himself and his situation. Again, I’m sure that these aren’t consequences of David’s behavior. They are punishments. (God punishes us in order for us to learn. But He always knows what we are going to do. It is confusing but at the same time, it makes sense. God knows we are going to sin, as part of His plan, and then punishes us afterward.) But even if this is the case, and the sanctions of God are a result of David’s actions, this is the importance I would give.
Depending on the how stressed and ‘urgent’ David’s psalms are, I would guess that the sanction is more stressed. And even when David is despairing, he still gives glory to God because He is righteous and just. So when David is writing and implying that he is cheerful and happy, I guess that he is being blessed by God with mental, physical, and environmental good.
Conclusively, the sanctions of God aren’t because of the actions of people. An example would be that God puts evil men in power. They can be corrupt and persecuting, but, they are there because God put them there. God does his will. His will is confusing to us and that is why we can’t understand why He does what He does.